Collection Of Books By Minnie B. Theobald With Signed Cabinet Card

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Collection Of Books By Minnie B. Theobald, Mystic & Cellist Who Led A Magical Life, With Signed Cabinet Card

'I have been continually aware of three levels of life and consciousness. I am a normal self-conscious individual in daily life; but at the same time I am frequently aware of a level of vital substance, of ever changing form, peopled with imps and elves, which I contact through a subconscious mind. I am also often awake at another level where beings wiser than normal humanity dwell, which I approach with what I call a superconscious mind. It is from this level that much of the teaching comes.’

Minnie Theobald was born in London, 1874. She came from a musical family with ties to the London Spiritualist Alliance and Theosophical Society. At the age of nine, she began her training with the Belgian violoncellist Gustave Libotton, and at twelve years old she had already performed in public on various occasions. A talented musician, Minnie belongs to the first generation of academically trained female violoncellists in England. Later in life, she settled in Ovingdean, near Brighton.
In regards to her mystical writings, Minnie had received inner instructions that none of her work was to be published during her lifetime. She was a true mystic ‘to whom it made no difference whether she was in or out of body’. But she was no recluse, always visited by friends, living an active life and enjoying days out in London. At the age of seventy-four, her friend Beryl Pogson, who Minnie left in charge of her papers, said ‘I had never before seen anyone of that age who had such an air of youth and vitality and such a lively spirit shining through her dark eyes.’
In the summer of 1894, she won a gold medal in the examinations at the Guildhall School of Music, supposedly 'the first time the distinction has been won by a cellist.' (Queenslander, 15 Sept. 1894). From 1895 onwards, she performed regularly in London as a soloist. The Musical Standard wrote; 'It was abundantly evident that Miss Theobald is a 'cellist of decided ability; both in tone, execution and style, her performances being entirely commendable. Her future career should be most successful.' (Musical Standard, 1898)
It is thought that she earned her living primarily by teaching music. In 1907, her musical participation is documented in the supporting program of the Theosophical Society’s annual congress of the Federation of European Sections. But her main focus throughout her life was in service of her mystical beliefs and serious explorations in consciousness. For many years she studied astrology, history and religion, in particular ancient Egypt, esoteric Christianity, the Druids and Celtic world, along with a deep devotion to the spiritual life.

This photograph was taken the same year Minnie joined the Theosophical Society. She wrote to them criticising that they neglect the ‘careful cultivation of the emotions’ she writes, ‘Put aside your books, stop the ceaseless working of your brains and learn to feel! To feel the rhythm of the universe, to feel life and love flow from every object that surrounds you, and by experience know Universal Brotherhood.’ Theobald and her family eventually left the Theosophical Society over the Leadbeater crisis and joined G. R. S. Mead’s Quest Society (Dixon, J. 2001).
The four books in this collection comprise her main body of work. Her other published works include a title called ‘Sudden Death & The War’ advertised in ‘Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs’ (1917), as well as a book printed in 1913, ‘The Missing Goddess and Other Legends’, of which a copy was noted in the library of Gerald Gardner, founder of Wicca. A set of ‘excellent stories that have the added interest of being automatically written…in the form of fables with a moral as their basis, though the reader is largely left to ascertain the moral’ (ASFPR, 1916). Also, ‘The Triple Ply of Life’, published in 1914. So, whilst these were published in her lifetime, none of her mystical writings or spiritual teachings were ever made available to the public.
There have been no major studies or serious research into Minnie’s life and work, which is undoubtedly deserving of attention and further academic endeavour.


The Three Levels of Consciousness: An Autobiography by Minnie B. Theobald, 1960. London: John M. Watkins. First edition. Hardcover. 170pp. 4 b & w plates. Epilogue by Berly Pogson. Jacket faded and marked with several small stains, slight tear to top edge, corners rubbed, internally clean. A very good copy.

The Canopy of Heaven: Notes on The Fourth Dimension, 1963. Keighley: The Rydal Press. First edition. Hardcover. 108pp. Edited by Berly Pogson. Publisher’s striking orange cloth with gilt titles, light to edges, corners rubbed, some small marks and dents to the rear, internally clean. Very good.

The Eternal Calendar, 1964. Keighley: Rydal Press. First edition. Hardcover. 103pp. Edited by Berly Pogson. Publisher’s striking orange cloth with gilt titles, corners rubbed, internally clean. A very good copy. 

Death and After: A Glance at Some Burial Customs of Olden Times Revealing the Beliefs of Different Civilisations about Death and After, 1954. Brighton: Privately Published. Wraps. 45pp. Publishers original blue card-textured wrappers, centre staples show some rust, text clean, a very good copy.

Cabinet Card of Minnie with Her Cello, Aged 20, 1894. Portrait of Minnie B. Theobald with her cello. 4 x 6.25 inches. Photographer: Edgar Scamell of London. Signed in ink to the rear. Two small stains to the right of the card, light wear to the rear. Very good.